Have questions about what’s going on in with all the changes in Chatham County? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is the second in a series of articles we’ll be doing here at Our Chatham where we take questions submitted by our readers and send our team of reporters out to get some answers. Send us your questions that you’d like us to investigate.
Pittsboro resident Tanya Priddle was driving down Hillsboro Street when she thought, “What they are going to build on the land up past the Carolina Brewery near Lowes? Will they connect a road to Chatham Forest up near the water tower?” So she sent that question to us at Our Chatham and we went to work.
Once we verified with Tanya that she was asking about a lot in Pittsboro off 501 and Lowes Drive, I went to the archive for the Pittsboro Planning Department that lists all the approved/pending permits, plans and renovations within the city. Chatham County also has a weekly archive tracking different building permits.
We didn’t find anything about a project in the public records, so we contacted government officials in Pittsboro to double check.
The short answer
Pittsboro officials confirmed that nothing is planned — right now — at the property.
“As of this writing, there are no real plans for this property,” Pittsboro Planning Director Jeff Jones told me via email.
But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been talk of development in the past.
“There were concepts of residential housing for this property with future connection to Chatham Forest and the second entrance on Hillsboro Street. Those plans haven’t to date come to light and as such new plans will be submitted for this area most likely for residential housing,” Jones said.
I followed up with Jones to find out what kind of “concepts” there were, when they existed, and how the public could find out when plans are submitted, but after a week of emails, I didn’t hear back, so we’ll leave those questions for a follow-up story.
Mixed-use plot owned by developers and hotel owners
Just because plans for the property “haven’t to date come to light”, doesn’t mean that anything can happen to the land. In addition to Jones’ guess that the land would be put to residential use, we know from zoning maps that the land is marked for “Multi-Use Planned Development”.
What does that mean? Not just residential, according to the Town of Pittsboro Zoning Ordinances. The land could also be used for a variety of purposes, including commercial, office space, hotels or recreational uses.
The largest tract of land is a 145-acre plot that touches Hillsboro Street on the west and U.S. Highway 64 on the northeast. The property is also adjacent to Bellmont Ridge Road in the Chatham Forest neighborhood. The undeveloped plot of land surrounds the Bellmont Pointe Apartments, which sit at the end of Lowe’s Drive, behind the shopping center.
That property is owned by EMGEE LLC, a Raleigh-based company that owns several other plots in Chatham County in the same area that Priddle was asking about. The company is managed by Govind Chandak and Prateek Chandak, who also run a company called Henderson Hotel Associates, LLC, according to business registration information on the N.C. Secretary of State’s website.
A company that uses the same address as EMGEE LLC and is managed by people named Govind Chandak and Prateek Chandak in 2009 purchased the Siena Hotel, a luxury hotel on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Orange County property records indicate they still own the property.
The one thing that can’t be put on the land is a competitor to Lowe’s, according to the 2014 deed that EMGEE signed when it purchased the land from the developer who built the Lowe’s shopping center.
Smaller properties are residential and agricultural
Surrounding that large piece of property are several other undeveloped plots of land. Those properties are owned by the State of North Carolina, the Town of Pittsboro, and private owners from Carrboro and Mitchellville, Md.
These smaller tracts of land are zoned for “Residential Agriculture”, which means that the land should be used for “very low-density” residential or agricultural use, and that public water and sewer isn’t planned for the area “in the near future.”
It’s all still a little up in the air, but if you have any ideas or questions, the Pittsboro Planning Board is the right place to ask.
If you have information about the land that we aren’t reporting here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.